We get it, you’re a creature of habit. You’ve been using Final Draft or another program for years, maybe even decades, and new things are scary. So why give Arc Studio a shot? Let us present our concise two-point plan to convince you:
- Switching is super easy.
- Arc Studio makes your job easier.
Too concise? Okay, how about this:
- Switching is super easy. You can keep your workflow the same, do all the things you did in Final Draft, and even import Final Draft files into Arc Studio.
- Arc Studio makes your job easier. Problems that make you want to pull your hair out in Final Draft — like forgetting to track changes or writing in the wrong file — don’t even exist in Arc Studio, and we can do things that are impossible in Final Draft.
You still want more? We aim to please. Let’s get into it!
Switching to Arc Studio is super easy
The first thing you’ll notice when you start writing a script in Arc Studio is that you’re not noticing anything. That’s because the basic script-writing features and formatting are industry standard. Compare the two scripts below. Can you tell which is Final Draft and which is Arc Studio?
(If you can’t tell, we’re not saying.) Your scene headings are scene headings, your dialogue is dialogue, and you use
Tab to switch between elements just like in Final Draft. You can also use the same keyboard shortcuts, like
1 to change the element to a scene heading,
2 to make it an action paragraph, etc. (We’ve also added some great shortcuts like
K , which gives you access to all the shortcuts.)
But maybe you’ve already started writing your script in Final Draft. It’s probably too late to switch to Arc Studio, right? Wrong. (You probably guessed that.) You can import a Final Draft file into Arc Studio and it’ll be seamlessly converted. (You can also export an Arc Studio script as a Final Draft file if you want.)
Arc Studio makes your job easier
Okay, but just because you can easily migrate to Arc Studio doesn’t necessarily mean you should. But you should. And that’s because Arc Studio approaches screenwriting differently. You can think of Final Draft more like Microsoft Word, and Arc Studio more like Google Docs. Since we’re web-based we can do a lot of things Final Draft can’t do.
In Final Draft, every time you save a new draft of the script you get a new file that you have to keep track of. This is what browsing through your old drafts looks like:
Things get even more complicated when you start emailing files around to your collaborators, and now different versions are living on different computers. It’s super easy to get confused and accidentally start writing in the wrong file. Let’s compare that to what looking at all your drafts is like in Arc Studio:
In Arc Studio, all your drafts are accessible with a single click. And since they’re all in the same app, you can do things like compare what’s changed between different drafts and use Revert Mode to bring things you cut in an old draft back into your current draft.
Everything in Arc Studio is automatically saved and being tracked in the background, so you never have to hit ‘Save’ and you can’t forget to do anything. Did you forget to track changes? No, you didn’t, because with Arc Studio you can compare your current draft to the previous draft (or any of your past drafts) and mark what’s changed.
Since everything is automatically saved, you never have to “Save As,” and when you’re ready to file a draft you just take a snapshot. We call it a snapshot because it permanently captures the state of your document at the time it’s made. It’s a milestone in your project that you want to keep around for future reference. When you give a snapshot a color, we call it a Revision.
Arc Studio also creates Autosaves. These are snapshots automatically made every time you stop writing for ten minutes. They’re all accessible in your ‘Full history’ in the left sidebar.
Plus, Arc Studio lets you create Alternate Drafts to try new things in private that won’t affect your main draft. When you’re ready, you can share your changes with your collaborators and integrate the good parts of your new approach into your script.
(For a more detailed look at how Arc Studio handles all your drafts and changes, check out our guide.)
We could go on and on, but we’ll just mention Arc Studio’s live collaboration. Instead of having to send someone an alphanumeric session ID like in Final Draft, just add their email address to the script and invite them to join.
(And how could we forget our AI Research Assistant that lets you ask questions in the app and creates and titles a research note with that information attached to your script.)
You’ve probably heard enough for now, but when you’re ready you should also check out how Arc Studio’s Plot Board which lets you break your story easily, tag all your beats with color-coded story elements, and then gives you access to all your outline information as you’re writing your script so you don’t have to switch between apps.